A former high-ranking North Korean official has defected to South Korea, citing fears for the safety of his children.
Jeong Joon Hee, the South Korean Ministry of Unification in Seoul, announced during a press conference that Thae Yong Ho, who was the North’s deputy ambassador residing in London, arrived in South Korea with his family that includes his wife and two sons, aged 19 and 26.
Details of his departure from Britain and arrival in South Korea have not been disclosed.
The 55-year-old ex-Pyongyang official is reported the “highest-ranking” North Korean diplomat to leave the hermit kingdom for the South.
"This case shows that North Korean elites view that there is no hope in their country," Jeong said, according to Yonhap News. "It also indicates that North Korea's regime's internal solidarity is weakening."
The south’s representative added Thae left the communist country because he was “sick and tired of the Kim Jong-un regime,” and was worried about his family’s future there.
News of Thae’s defection comes almost nearly five months after 12 waitresses working at a North Korean restaurant in China fled to South Korea.
Around 814 North Koreans have left the North for their southern neighbor from January this year through July, according to Reuters.